Snowstorm causes traffic mess on Tuesday |

Snowstorm causes traffic mess on Tuesday

Veronica Whitney
NWS East Vail Accident BH 9-21 Bret Hartman/ Vail police and firefighters carry the victim of a car crash Tuesday morning on Interstate 70 in East Vail. Police did not release the names or injuries of anyone in the accident.

EAGLE COUNTY – Slippery roads and falling temperatures caused several car accidents on Interstate 70 in the Vail Valley on Tuesday, police said.Although no one was seriously injured, several drivers and passengers, including children, were taken to the Vail Valley Medical Center, police said.Four of the accidents happened between 11 a.m. and noon, a couple hours after snow began falling in the valley. The accidents included two rollovers, one near East Vail and another near Wolcott, police said.”It was wet and people were driving too fast, they were hydroplaning,” said Vail Police Sgt. Mark Allen.

Between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday, State Patrol responded to two car accidents also on I-70. No injuries were reported.”The weather was a factor,” said State Patrol Sgt. Shawn Olmstead. “Roads were mostly wet and slushy, and they were going too fast for the condition of the road. “The drivers and passengers were wearing seatbelts.”Snow and cold

A large polar mass moving slowly through Colorado on Tuesday brought several inches of snow to the High Country and other areas. Yampa, about 100 miles northeast of Vail, had received five inches of snow by mid-afternoon.Although there were no significant accumulations in the Vail Valley – about four inches at the top of Vail Mountain – Eagle County along with most of the state remained under snow advisory Tuesday afternoon.”The same front will bring a mixture of rain and snow along the Interstate 70 corridor on Wednesday,” said Brian Avery, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. “(The front) will be moving east, but slowly.”The snow and rain will be tapering off today as colder temperatures move in, Avery said. Up to eight inches of snow was forecasted for the higher elevations by the time fall officially begins at 9:30 a.m., today.

“Once this ends, we should remain dry for the rest of the week and the weekend,” Avery said. “It’s going to get colder with lows in the 20s on Wednesday night. This isn’t completely uncommon, but it isn’t very normal for this time of the year.”Temperature averages for this time of the year are 64 for a high and 32 for low. On Tuesday, the high in the valley was about 50 and the low around 25, Avery said. Tuesday’s storm soaked most of the state – a change from the summerlong pattern that left the western part of the state parched even while the mountains and Eastern Plains experienced wetter-than-normal weather.The storm will reduce the fire danger enough that crews will be able to set prescribed burns to clear out dense underbrush without too much risk, but it doesn’t mean the fire season is over.Staff writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or

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